Intranasal oxytocin administration but not peripheral oxytocin regulates behaviors of attachment insecurity: A meta-analysis

Kejin Zhang, Yuhe Fan, Rongjun Yu, Yajie Tian, Jinting Liu, Pingyuan Gong*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    In light of the roles of oxytocin (OT) in social bonding and interpersonal relationship, studies have examined the roles of OT in human attachment, but by and large previous findings are inconsistent. Here, we conducted - meta-analyses to estimate the associations between peripheral OT level (e.g., blood and salivary OT) and attachment (i.e., attachment dimensions and behaviors of attachment insecurity) and examine the effects of intranasal OT administration on behaviors of attachment insecurity. The analyses indicated that: (1) Peripheral OT level was not significantly associated with attachment dimensions (e.g., attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance) and behaviors of attachment insecurity; (2) intranasal OT administration significantly reduced behaviors of attachment insecurity of neutral contexts, particularly behaviors of attachment avoidance. The findings suggest that intranasal OT administration is an available approach for reducing behaviors of attachment insecurity of interpersonal situations with ambiguous social cues, which implicates suggestions for therapeutic treatments of attachment-related dysfunctions.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number105369
    Number of pages12
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
    • Endocrinology
    • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
    • Psychiatry and Mental health
    • Biological Psychiatry

    User-Defined Keywords

    • Attachment behavior
    • Attachment dimension
    • Attachment insecurity
    • Intranasal oxytocin administration
    • Peripheral oxytocin


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